Shouldn’t it feel different?

 by William Masswa

The first discernable gray hair was no big deal. A fluke. Some random sign of days to come. Nothing to sweat, or fret.

That was years ago. There are more gray ones more now. If I look in good light, I can see them everyday.

Here’s something odd about gray hair (or my gray hair): they don’t feel any different than the curly brown ones. They are just there. When I successfully ignore them (and I do), I don’t feel any older. I don’t feel any different.


Unlike the grays, I would have thought being published with TOUGHSKINS would make me feel, well, different. Smarter. More hip. More interesting. More intriguing.

With the release of my novel, I imagined I’d be invited to more parties. Posh parties. My social schedule would be full. With the ongoing book tours, I’d dash from one coast to the other. And what’s this? Europe? Signings in Italy, Germany and France? Oui.


Yes, I should feel different. I’m published.

I don’t feel different.

I’d like to feel different. I’d like to think John and Bret, the main characters in TOUGHSKINS, make a difference. I’d like to know that their tender sides reach someone. I’d like to know that their broken hearts touch someone. I’d like to know that what they overcome both alone and together teaches someone.

Am I impatient? Are my aspirations are too high?

Just buy the dang book, people, and love me.  No, like really love me.

Is that too much to ask?

I make jokes here, but, bottom line: I wonder who picks up the novel and lives, even for a moment, with the characters. John and Bret, who I once described as golden retriever puppies—one blonde, the other red—hold some of my soul. They always will.

In the cosmos, that should make a difference, shouldn’t it?

14 Responses to “Shouldn’t it feel different?”

  1. 1 Kathleen Knowles June 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Hi Will

    Boy do i know how you feel about the gray hair AND the being published for the first time.


    • 2 Will Masswa June 5, 2012 at 9:26 PM


      Tell me more. I’m just talking about the gray hair here, of course.

      Well, maybe some of the writing too.

      My novel seems so far from me now. I wonder how it is doing. Should I somehow have attached honing pigeons to it so that they could intermittently come back to me with a report on how it’s doing?

      I feel lost. Or the book is lost. Or both.

      Y/N, do you feel the same way?


      • 3 kathy June 7, 2012 at 11:52 PM

        sort of. It felt unreal at times that i had an actual book in print- that wrote. Then i would sign it for someone or someone would say something nice. Then it became more real. NOw, it does feel far away although it’s only been since january. I am more focussed on what i am writing now


      • 4 Will Masswa June 8, 2012 at 6:05 AM

        I hear you, Kathy. I wrote another since TOUGHSKINS called JESUS CLONED. As attached as I was to characters in both novels during the writing (and I was), I guess the following is true: you move on.

        I have not had any signings like you describe. I can imagine that would be an awesome, humbling, rewarding experience.

        Thanks for responding here. I appreciate it.

        Great success to you with your new writing!



  2. 5 Connie June 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Well done and a good read!!


    • 6 Will Masswa June 5, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      Connie, I really appreciate you reading the book. I’m all ears for additional feedback, if you like. That, or I’ll just shake your hand and say, “Thank you.”

      Your choice!


  3. 7 Larry Benjamin June 5, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    I remember getting my first gray hair. Heck I remember having hair. I remember, too, the first time I searched for my book on Amazon and it came up. Do I feel dirrerent now? well yes and no. I feel I accomplished something–my characters are out in the world going places, I’ve never been, meeting people I’ll probably never meet. But I still have to walk the dogs in the rain, no one has invited me to a single glam party full of the literatti and Paris is nowhere in sight. But once in awhile a reader will send me a note saying he or she enjoyed the book or asking a question and I’ll feel liek a freakin’ rock star.


    • 8 Will Masswa June 5, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Dear Rock Star,

      Thank you for what you share here. I feel we’re close in experiences, or will be close in experiences.

      That helps.

      I like how you wrote that your characters are out in the world going places you’ve never been, meeting people you’ll probably never meet.

      Larry, I’m not a big fan of the film SOAP DISH, but remember a scene where the daytime soap character played by Sally Fields feels downtrodden, if not faded from the camera’s bright light. A friend (or employee?) pretends to see the star in a mall. With a loud and gushing raucous, she draws attention to Sally’s character who laps up the sudden praise faster than Romney can hurl an insult at Obama (or vice versa).

      This is only a suggestion, but we could meet somewhere and do the same thing. I do have to take back a pair of jeans at JCPenny. Would you like to meet sometime soon?

      Yes? Maybe?



      • 9 Larry Benjamin June 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        I LOVE this idea. Let’s meet. Maybe JCP will put us in an ad and OMM can protest against us!



      • 10 Will Masswa June 7, 2012 at 5:16 PM

        Dear R.S.,

        Yes, let’s meet at JCP!

        I have a smoking jacket that looks (and smells) a bit like a 300 y/o velour sofa, and can nab a frilly scarf, of course.

        Q: should I produce a genuine imitation Wm. Shakespeare feather pen and ink well, or carry the pen I picked up last week at Jiffy Lube?

        One more Q: long shot, yes, but do you think we’ll meet Ellen?


        Famished for Fame


  4. 11 christopherkoehler June 5, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Yeah, it be nice if we felt different. I remember thinking I should feel different. But the cats still want feeding and the trash and recycle still need to be taken out.

    I will say this, however. I’m now utterly shameless about saying I’m a writer or novelist in response to the question, “What do you do?” I write full-time; I have no evil day job. That feels good.


    • 12 Will Masswa June 5, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      Dear Feels Good,

      Yea to you being a full-time writer! (Sorry, I just never did get to be a cheerleader in high school and sometimes the pain seeps through the rustle of my pom-poms.)

      Christopher, hello to the cats, and good writing to you tomorrow.



  5. 14 Will Masswa June 5, 2012 at 9:48 PM


    I’ve been blogged and reblogged in one day (thanks to you). Yippee!


    This deserves celebration with a cookie.

    You’re my hero.



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